by Dale Chappell
New Hampshire’s secret list of corrupt and problem cops just got worse. On April 30, Governor Chris Sununu and Attorney General Gordon MacDonald announced that individual cops won’t be placed on the list prior to an investigation into potential credibility problems is completed.
Meanwhile, officers are expected to “notify the prosecutor in any case in which they may be a witness that they are under investigation,” the memo said. “This is wrong,” the American Civil Liberties Union (“ACLU”) said on its blog.
Supporters of the new policy say it was needed because cops “deserve the same robust due process protections as any criminal defendant.” However, due process exists because the state is attempting to deprive a criminal defendant of his life, liberty, or property. This is not the case when a cop with credibility issues is placed on the “Laurie List,” so-named after a 1991 New Hampshire Supreme Court case. “A criminal defendant simply has much more to lose,” the ACLU said. “If an officer lies, an innocent person may be incarcerated, and trust in the system is eroded.”
Because the list is secret, defendants have no way of knowing whether they are getting all the information from the state they are entitled to for their defense. The state has failed numerous times to disclose problem cops. In Manchester, a corrupt detective forced the state to drop 35 felony drug cases and two officers who were fired for allegedly lying forced the state to drop 20 other cases.
The new policy “enhances the power of the state at the expense of defendants who risk losing their liberty,” the ACLU said. “This is not how the Constitution works.”
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